With baseball's annual winter meetings underway and teams throughout the league working to improve their rosters, the Yankees are hurrying to stay ahead of the rest of the league, going as far as to engage in bidding wars for numerous free agents they have no interest in or can't even identify by name.
"This is standard operating procedure for us," said general manager Brian Cashman. "Mr. Steinbrenner has always made it clear, if a free agent is being offered a contract by a competitor, we submit a much more lucrative counteroffer. Doesn't matter who it is."
Cashman says that specific scenario is currently being played out with nearly a hundred different free agents.
"We just offered some guy I think he's a shortstop or maybe a reliever on the Padres, or is it the Mariners? anyway, we offered him six years, $90 million because we heard rumors that the Mets, Red Sox and Angels were interested in possibly signing him to a minor league contract," said Cashman. "We're committed to not letting him slip away to our rivals, whoever he is."
The architect of the Yankees' big-spending philosophy, long-time team owner George Steinbrenner, has passed that approach onto his sons, mandating a standard response if the team is contacted by an available player's agent.
"I've reminded Brian and all the guys that nothing has changed," says Hank Steinbrenner. "If some agent tells us he has an offer on the table from another team, just say: 'We'll triple the dollar amount and double the years. Think it over and get back to us.' That approach usually lets us get our man in the end."
Such an aggressive style has enabled the Yankees to land some of the biggest free agents over the years, but has also stuck the franchise with some stinkers.
"Granted, it backfires from time to time," said Cashman. "Tony Womack, for example. We gave him two years, $4 million after I got an anonymous call that Boston was about to sign him. Turned out it was just a prank call from Theo Epstein."
In addition to the bidding war over the shortstop or possibly reliever from the Padres or Mariners, the Yankees have multiyear, ten-figure offers on the table to according to Cashman "this one starter who used to pitch for the Pirates," "a Dominican outfielder from an NL West club, or at least I hope he's Dominican," "a few Royals players," "and an infielder named Jack or Jay or something, something with a J," among others.
Cashman says the Yankees are specifically focused on the Jack or Jim guy.
"I don't want us to be kicking ourselves come next September because what's-his-name with the J is making a name for himself starring for the Red Sox," he said.
The team full of pricks topped that group of douchebags in six games last night, mercifully ending the World Series for most of the nation.
"World fking champs!" hooted noted prick Nick Swisher in the victorious locker room.
Meanwhile, the mood in the opposing locker room was more subdued.
"I still think we were the better team," said uberdouche Jimmy Rollins. "We just didn't play like we were capable of."
The victory by the pricks over the douchebags followed most predictions as to how the Series would play out. The pricks were favored in Las Vegas and among baseball writers and analysts, as well as among casual observers of pricks and douchebags.
"As I thought, the pricks just had better pitching," said Fox analyst Steve Rosenthal.
"At the end of the day, pricks tend to just have more motivation," said Jeff Riley, a casual baseball fan who says he works with both pricks and douchebags, as well as many dickheads. "They can't be denied. Douchebags are annoying, yet possible to ignore if you make the effort to do so. I didn't watch the World Series, but it seems that's how it played out."
With the season at an end, the pricks will now celebrate with a parade before their adoring fans. While the douchebags must try to reload for another run next season.
"We were close," said incredibly douchey right fielder Jayson Werth. "We don't need to blow this team up we get along great and we all love growing our facial hair together and shopping for Ed Hardy t-shirts. But we maybe need to look at the available free agents and see if there are some pricks we can add to the roster."
There are two things we have learned so far in the World Series:
2) The Phillies have no idea how to pitch to this half-man, half-beast.
Rodriguez's 10 plate appearances in the last two games both Yankee wins have resulted in the following: HBP, home run, line out, HBP, walk, HBP, fly out, fly out, strike-out, game-winning double.
Clearly the Phillies need help. Lucky for them I know baseball. And I also know centaurs. So here are my:
Keys to Pitching to CentauRod
1. Exploit his massive strike zone. The strike zone in baseball is from the batter's knees up to the letters across the front of his jersey. On a centaur, that's about six to seven feet. Even a mythical being can't protect an area that big at the plate.
2. Distract him. In Greek mythology, centaurs are depicted as wild creatures enslaved to their unbridled passions. CentauRod is no different. The Phillies and their fans must distract him at the plate with athletic she-males, feed bags full of steroids, and mirrors.
3. Refer to the rule book. This may seem like a cheap way to win, but you're not the team putting a centaur in the lineup. First off, there has to be some sort of uniform violation with CentauRod. Second, weapons such as a bow-and-arrow are not allowed on the field during play. And, third, there's no way CentauRod is keeping all four of his legs in the batter's box. It's impossible.
4. Destroy his confidence in the field. If you can mess CentauRod up on the field, he'll lose some confidence at the plate. That's why the Phillies need to bunt down the third base line at him over and over and over. It's really hard for centaurs to bend down with their horse knees to pick up the ball. Of course, CentauRod may just pick the ball up with a spear. But then you just go back to the rule book violation.
5. If you're going to hit him, hit him in the right place. CentauRod has been hit with pitches three times in the last two games. That's not a problem. The problem is that the Phillies keep hitting him in the upper body. They need to hit him in the legs. Leg injuries are often fatal for horses. Centaurs are no different. A hard fastball just above the hoof should result in CentauRod getting slaughtered like Barbaro. Then who are the Yankees going to be stuck playing at third Jerry Hairston, Jr.? Ha! He's no centaur. He's a nymph. Advantage: Phillies.
I am a baseball player. But if there is one thing the game has taught me, it's not a lesson about competition or sportsmanship or being a man or anything like that.
It's that you might have to fight an old person at a moment's notice.
Game 3 of the 2003 ALCS did I go to the park that day expecting to fight Don Zimmer? Not really. But then one thing led to another and I had to throw that 72-year-old man to the ground.
Live and learn.
Now I'm ready to kick an old person's ass at any moment. And you can be, too.
FOX is broadcasting the 2009 World Series between the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies.
Here is FOX analyst Howie Long with his keys to the series.